Death squad investigations
Bacchus affidavits cannot withstand scrutiny
- Senior police officer
June 28, 2004
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SEVERAL policemen who were detained in relation to the death squad allegation probe by the Guyana Police Force could be released this week.
A senior official at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary, told Kaieteur News that there is not enough evidence at the moment to link the men to the alleged ‘death squad’.
The police ranks were detained after police received two affidavits purportedly sworn to by now dead self-confessed informant George Bacchus. They are being held at separate police station lock-ups throughout the country.
One affidavit named several serving members of the Guyana Police Force as members of the ‘death squad’
Police Commissioner Winston Felix, at last Thursday press conference confirmed that he had studied the affidavit, which was handed over to the police by the opposition People’s National Congress Reform. He said that an investigation was underway.
However, according to the senior official, all of the men who are currently under close arrest have denied any involvement in the ‘death squad’, which was allegedly co-ordinated by a senior government functionary.
He explained that now that Bacchus is dead the affidavit would have lost all its weight. “Although the document may be authentic, it cannot stand up to scrutiny, it cannot be challenged, because Bacchus is dead and there is no way that he could be cross-examined,” the official told this newspaper.
He however pointed out that the incriminating statements in the affidavit warranted an investigation.
He revealed that checks were made to locate all the persons named in the affidavit. But apart from the policemen named, the official said that none of the others persons appear to exist.
One such person was identified as ‘Bomber’ whom Bacchus had claimed in the affidavit had introduced him to the senior government official who allegedly headed the death squad.
“The affidavit is not evidence. It only becomes evidence when the person who swore to it testifies in court,” the official added.
Bacchus had alleged that the ‘death squad’ was responsible for the abduction and murder of a number of persons suspected to be involved in criminal activity.
The allegation was made after Bacchus’s brother Shafeek was gunned down outside his home on Princes Street last January.
Bacchus had stated that the gunmen who killed his brother had meant to kill him instead, after he began objecting to the operations of the death squad.